Anime Film Review: Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike

Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike is a film released for the Yowamushi Pedal franchise in Japan that’s based off of chapters in the Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike manga spin-off.

Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike
Directed by: Osamu Nabeshima
Written by: Ayumu Hisao and Mitsutaka Hirota
Starring: Showtaro Morikubo, Tetsuya Kakihara, Atsushi Abe, Ayaka Suwa, Daiki Yamashita, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Hiroki Yasumoto, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Jun Fukushima, Junichi Suwabe, Kentaro Ito, Kousuke Toriumi, Mariya Ise, Satoshi Hino, Tomoaki Maeno, and Tsubasa Yonaga
Release Date: September 9, 2016
Run Time: 60 minutes

Since this film has not been licensed or released in the North American market, I had to resort to, let’s just say some… “not so legal” means in order to watch this film.

The film is split into two stories, with interstitial pieces featuring Arakita to break up the two parts. Arakita’s interstitials were quite amusing. The two characters focused on in this film are Sohoku’s Yusuke Makishima and Hakone Academy’s Jinpachi Toudou. One of the stories in the film focuses on Makishima, while the other one focuses on Toudou.

Makishima’s story shows how he joined Sohoku’s racing club as a first-year student. He receives scorn from his senpai for his strange style of “dancing.” Toudou’s story shows how he first got into road racing in his second year of middle school. A friend challenged him to a race, but Toudou initially refused because he wanted to avoid helmet hair. The main thing I remember from Toudou’s story is it reveals how he starts wearing his signature headbands.

While we have seen younger versions of some of the characters through flashbacks in the main anime series, I really liked getting to see the third-years for both Sohoku as their first-year versions for an entire story. They just look so different and so little compared to how viewers are familiar with them from the anime series. Getting to see a younger Toudou was a treat as well.

This film provided some nice backstory, but it just wouldn’t have fit in with the flow of the main anime series. I’m glad that TMS/8PAN was given the opportunity to tell these two stories from the spin-off manga to fans of the anime franchise. I know that there have been additional chapters put out for Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike that features other characters from the series, and I wish that these chapters could get an anime film or a special. Of course, though, we still need to get more of the main anime series first. The last season that aired quit in the middle of the second Inter-High race, so it would be nice to get to see how the rest of the race goes.

While I would love to see Discotek Media acquire the license to release Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike, that feels like a pipe dream at this point. Considering the company still hasn’t licenses the third or fourth seasons of the Yowamushi Pedal anime at the time of this writing, and it’s been two years since the fourth season finished its run, I don’t think the company would be in any hurry to license this film.

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